Leah Jones has no idea who she is.
Other than a few faint memories, this orphan has no clue about her family. But she is determined to find her two sisters--one of the few things she does remember--all the same. And her journey begins at the library for soldiers. A library where Clay Paxton just also happens to frequent (you knew it was coming, didn't you?).
And a library where everything about Leah is about to be attacked.
It's rare to find an orphan's perspective in adult books. (Generally, they seem to show up in young adult books more.) So Leah's perspective was very interesting, especially how she views life without drama and with uncommon maturity. (And poetry, of course!)
I mentioned above that everything about Leah is about to be attacked. While I used it more of a metaphor, she really is physically attacked early on in the book, which results in it having more mature content than the first two had.
Clay's dream that he believes shows him how he will die was a little . . . unusual? I know that sounds super weird, but it does make sense at the end, I promise. Still, following the final Paxton brother's journey through D-day and towards forgiveness didn't disappoint.
Just like that, Brice Worthing has a wife. Just like that, Rowena Kinnaird becomes a duchess.
And just like that, they're stuck together for life with someone they can't dream of understanding.
Just like that, Rowena is thrust into a world she's never understood. But she's saved from her father and her abusive would-be suitor.
And just like that, she becomes an integral piece--a pawn, really--in the scheme to recover the priceless Fire Eyes diamonds.
Much like its first installment (The Lost Heiress), The Reluctant Duchess starts off slow. It has a completely different style than Roseanna White's other series. But it finds its footing in the climax. Also much like its first installment, keeping the players straight can be a task at times. Thankfully, there's also the helpful "cheat sheet" in the front.
Rowena is probably my least favorite character in the trilogy. She was a wee bit gullible, especially considering her backstory. It makes Brice's patience with her all the more inspiring. Some of the supporting characters are less vibrant than other works of Roseanna White's.
This book isn't all frills and romance. It's very real. It shows the struggles of loving someone who doesn't love you back. I could not believe Brice's patience at times. It teaches us by showing us what loving well looks like.
Due to Rowena's past abuse, this book does also have some more mature content in it. It is handled very, very tactfully and well, with no graphic descriptions.
The Reluctant Duchess feels a bit like its heroine at times--reluctant. But that doesn't mean you should be reluctant to pick it up.
Julianne Chevalier can't catch a break.
First she loses her brother, away with the army in the new territory of Louisiana. Then she loses one of her patients. Then she loses her midwife practice. And at last, she loses her freedom and is sentenced to life in prison.
The only thing she's managed to keep a hold of is her chance for a new start in Louisiana. Of course, the leaders of the trip forgot to mention she'd have to marry a fellow prisoner to be welcomed aboard. Funny how details like that slip one's mind.
Like those details about what Louisiana is really like. And those details of what would be expected of her.
And maybe, like those details about her brother. But as to what those details are? No one knows.
The Mark of the King is a raw, real story about a desperate marriage and a desperate family. At times I wanted to grab them both, shake them by the shoulders, and beg them to just talk to each other, to just straighten their secrets out. The story takes us from dark to light in a shattering journey. The good guys aren't all good and the bad guys aren't all bad. While the light plays across the swamps in a strong wrap-up at the end, the journey to get there may just be stronger.
Sadly, The Mark of the King is based on true events. Thousands of prisoners were married against their will and shipped off to populate a failing colony. Due to that, The Mark of the King has some more mature relational and violent content that, while not graphic by any stretch, was unexpected, especially compared to the other novels of Jocelyn Green. She doesn't shy away from dealing with tough dilemmas, which is necessary in this story. Still, it makes The Mark of the King a clearly adult book.
Don't choose The Mark of the King if you're not ready to wade through the swamp. But for those who do choose to make the journey, I doubt the light will disappoint.
Hi there! Rachel again. Check out this section for book reviews and cover reveals of some of my favorites!